Bolton fans split opinion with pitch invasion but they were the difference in the play-off semi-final

It might have been a bit premature but the Wanderers are on their way to Wembley next week.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 8th May 2024

The Toughsheet was hit with a huge pitch invasion by Bolton fans after the Wanderers narrowly secured their place in the League One play-off final this week, but the behaviour from those in the stadium has split opinion, to say the least.

Last Friday’s 3-1 win in the away leg gave the Trotters just enough cushion to survive the 3-2 defeat to Barnsley on Tuesday night, scraping through 5-4 on aggregate.

A tense affair was putting it mildly, especially after the home side began to let their two-nil lead from the first half slip and seeing the Tykes get just a goal away from tying things up with over a quarter of an hour still to go.

Bolton boss Ian Evatt put it best by simply saying, “We got the job done”, but as he’s stressed all season long as automatic promotion began to look less and less likely, he didn’t want his players to be premature or complacent come these final weeks. Safe to say the fans didn’t get that memo.

The scenes after Bolton secured their place in the final of the playoffs.

Although many have been defending the supporters for celebrating a massive victory which could see them back in the Championship after five years, not to mention it being the last home game of the season, plenty of others have been labelling the pitch invasion “nothing short of embarrassing”.


There have been countless comments to that effect, with people writing, “Bolton fans are weird. Pitch invasion and they aren’t even promoted yet” and “Pitch invasions for anything nowadays”. One user went so far as to argue, “Even the players must feel embarrassed”.

On the other hand, the defence that many of those are giving is that the Wanderers were close to liquidation just a few short years ago and unable to even pay their players, resorting to roping in academy players and dropping all the way to League Two in the 2020/21 season.


Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that it was a big night for Boltonians and it’s hard to pretend that being part of it would be anything other than up there with your most memorable sporting moments.

Bolton fan or not, surely no one would describe being in amongst a pitch invasion as anything other than mint?

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As for Evatt, he told BBC Radio Manchester that the crowd was “the best it’s been since I’ve been here”, insisting that “the atmosphere was absolutely incredible” from start to finish.

When you talk of the ‘twelfth man’ in football, it’s these games that come to mind and it’s no exaggeration to say that it was the fans in the stands that helped their team ride out the storm for what must have felt like an eternity.


What do you think, is a pitch invasion before you’ve actually won anything a bit premature or do these lot deserve to soak it all in after how far they’ve come over the past year or so?

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Featured Images — @ArchieBean13/@ChristianStott1/@sam_henley04 (via X)